Calling all Doctoral Students - Paging Dr. AACRAO

August 23, 2021
  • Professional Development and Contributions to the Field

No one ever said that going back to school was easy. So why not rely on your AACRAO colleagues for support and guidance?

AACRAO is pleased to announce a new community of practice for its members. The Doctoral Studies Network invites current, future, and past doctoral students to engage and interact around shared experiences. Ph.D., Ed.D., or other doctoral-level degrees are invited to join. Both full- and student members are invited. 

The group will begin as an AACRAO listserv. As interest grows, so too will the community. Possible benefits and ideas for the Network include:

  • Academic Partnerships: identifying others studying the same topic, sharing articles and research, or internship or practicum connections

  • Networking Opportunities: virtual coffee chats, in-person meet and greets, sessions at the annual meeting, Linked-In groups, and guest speakers. 

  • Writing Support: forming writing groups, collaboration on future AACRAO publications, peer reviews.   

  • Dissertation Help: proposal/dissertation reviews, topic generation, committee membership, and publication assistance. 

  • Recruitment: Virtual graduate school recruitment events. 

  • Kudos and Acknowledgements: Announcements of degree completion and job- opportunities.  

Kimberley Buster-Williams, a doctoral candidate, and Vice President of Enrollment Management at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, looks forward to the idea. “I have three courses remaining before I begin my dissertation work. Out of necessity, and after speaking with a friend finishing her doctorate degree, when I began my program, I created a small support network on my own. However, I think an AACRAO doctoral studies network would be amazing. If a network existed when I started my program, I would have joined right away. “ Kimberley's work also includes AACRAO's new course "History and Progress: 400 Years of American Higher Education."

“For a new doctoral student,” she continues, “having a support network is up there on the list of must-haves. I hope to gain additional insights from colleagues in programs across the country as I approach writing and defending my dissertation.” 

Seth Marc Kamen, a second-semester doctoral student at Frostburg State University in Maryland, agrees, “The AACRAO community is a wealth of knowledge. Many members of the community have already gone through this process or are going through it. The opportunity to learn from their combined experiences can greatly impact my success. And, what’s a better way to compliment my in-class learning than to find a professional network to learn from real-world, in the field, practitioners?” 

With this new Network, AACRAO joins a small group of higher education associations with a program supporting its member's pursuit of advanced degrees. It is one of the new, innovative ways AACRAO hopes to help its constituents. 

Does anyone need a dissertation topic? AACRAO estimates that only 8.5% of its membership already has their doctoral degrees, or around 900 individuals. No data currently exists to identify who is pursuing the degree, which degree or where they are going, what influenced their decision to attend, and what they hope to achieve by earning the title. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to learn more?

Join the group by emailing Then, join us for a virtual meet and greet on October 7, 2021, at 4 pm EDT / 1 pm PDT.